Tales on the River

Short Grass Arts Council partners with community organizations and sponsor to bring engaging presentations and fascinating stories to the Pierre / Fort Pierre area.

Stop by the Fort Pierre Moose Lodge at 910 N Deadwood St at 7pm on Thursday nights throughout the summer to listen to Tales on the River. Ladies of the Moose offer a light supper at 6:30pm for $5 each Tale night.

A wide range of presenters discuss South Dakota history, people, and tales. See below for current schedule. Make Tales on the River part of your weekly schedule!


Tales on the River Schedule Summer 2019

June 6   Joyzelle Godfrey*: Storytelling of the Dakota
Godfrey,  an independent scholar,  demonstrates the historical society of the Dakota people through the medium of storytelling. The adventures of the first set of twins born in the world give a glimpse of the family structure, food gathering and beliefs of their tribal people.

June 13   Brenda Donelan: A Storyteller Tells Her Tale
Brenda Donelan is a local author who writes mysteries set in South Dakota. The seventh book in her University Mystery Series will be released this summer. She incorporates her past employment as a social worker, probation officer, investigator, and college professor into all of her books.

June 20   Dr. Murray Thompson: A Hometown Boy & A Story of Service
A Pierre native, Dr. Thompson is a full time dentist and is also currently Commander of the SD Army National Guard Medical Command. From serving on a nuclear base to activation for flood duty in Pierre/Ft. Pierre to deployment in Afghanistan, Dr. Thompson has many experiences to share.

June 27  Dr. Rhea Waldman: Beautiful, Beneficial Bats
Bats are creatures of legend and myth, often associated with darkness and fear, but once you take a closer look at them, you can see their stunning beauty and benefits. Rhea is the education director at the SD Discovery Center and has studied bats for 10 years getting an intimate view of these amazing creatures. Join Rhea on her journey through the darkness and see bats in a new light.

July 4  (No Tales on the River)

July 11   Dr. Marilyn Carlson Aronson*: A River Runs Through It - The Missouri River Is an Enigma and Quite a Story
Dr. Aronson discusses how modern technology has tried to tame the mighty Missouri River and harness its energy to meet the growing needs of the people in the Missouri River Basin, exploring the building of the six giant dams on the Missouri River and which groups benefited most and least from the flood control projects. Aronson believes that the Missouri River eludes the efforts of modern technology to tame it fully, and it continues to provide water of uncertain quantity and quality.

July 18  Charlene "Charlie" Bessken: Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly Garden at Oahe Downstream Recreation Area was created in 2013 to highlight the perils of many native pollinators and to show what our native prairie wildflowers are like. Charlie has worked with a variety of species at the USFWS in Pierre for 17 years. For this presentation she will focus on pollinators and give an update on monarchs and the efforts to keep them off the endangered species list.

July 25   Constance Wallace: The Sanford Laboratory
“What we do, why we do it and how we make it happen” focuses on the science taking place nearly a mile underground and how it could change our understanding of the universe. The economic and education impacts this fundamental research has on the state of South Dakota, will be discussed including a little bit about the transition from mining operation to science operations.

Aug 1   Mark Jenner: Organic Farming 
Pierre is in the middle of the SD farming world and for the most part we experience traditional farming. In recent years organic farming has become  a new trend and in small scale part of the Pierre area farm effort. Mark has been part of the move to organic . He shares his experiences with changing from traditional to organic farming, the unique challenges of organic farming and his predictions for the future of it in South Dakota.

Aug 8   Paul Horsted*: The Black Hills Yesterday & Today
From the 1874 Black Hills "Custer" Expedition, through the gold rush, to the early days of tourism, Horsted presents rare historic photographs carefully matched with modern views from the same locations today. The resulting "then and now" images are not only fascinating to see, but also reveal insights into the history, development, ecology and more from across the Black Hills region.

Aug 15   Anne Lewis: Stories From A National Geographic Explorer 
Anne Lewis is the special projects director at the SD Discovery Center in Pierre SD where she leads a statewide earth and environmental science education outreach to students, teachers, and community members. Her career and days as an explorer make  an interesting tale.

Aug 22   Houdek: Songwriters Share Stories Behind Tunes
Houdek is a local band currently working on the follow-up album to its full-length debut, “Return to Houdek,” which contained 15 original songs all  inspired by growing up and living life in SD. With the recent addition of their teenage sons to the band, the Bakers and Valentines (Houdek’s songwriters)  are mining new territory for their sound and themes this go-round.

*Designates Programs offered through the South Dakota Humanities Council





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